I’ve written several posts about petting zoos, mainly about the potential negative aspects, although I still think they’re valuable if run properly. A major concern with these events is exposure of people to zoonotic infectious diseases, particularly harmful bacteria that can be carried by healthy animals. One of the more common pathogens that causes disease

Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 is a particularly important bacterium that can cause very serious disease in people, including diarrhea and a severe kidney disorder called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Infection in people typically results from ingesting the bacterium from contaminated food products.  The main reservoir of E. coli O157 is in

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Veterinary Researchinvestigated the relationship of E. coli bacteria in people and their pets. This study reported a number of interesting findings:

  • When they compared the molecular fingerprints of E. coli from people and pets, they were the same 10% of the time. This means

Meat QuestionFeeding raw meat diets to dogs is a very controversial issue. Some proponents passionately advocate these diets (e.g. the BARF diet) based on vague and unproven recommendations. Opponents cite various studies showing that pets fed raw meat (not surprisingly) have high carriage rates of potentially harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, and reports of

The inquest was told that there were three main possible sources of E. coli: food, travel and animals. The coroner determined that the owner most likely acquired E. coli from handling the cat or cleaning its litter box.

There is no indication why this conclusion was reached, and it seems to be a rather

Summer is prime season for E. coli infections in people, which are often associated with eating undercooked hamburgers, and less often with contact with animals at events like petting zoos. Escherichia coli is a bacterium that is very commonly found in most animals, including a large percentage of healthy individuals. Some E. coli strains

I received the following question yesterday:

For approximately 20 years I have been involved in waste collection for the Parks Division.  A considerable amount of the waste which I collect on a daily basis is dog excrement.  This is usually, but not always contained in a plastic bag and thrown into a large garbage barrel